Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 10

Marking time.

Monday: 8.6 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Tuesday: 7 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: 4.6 mi, treadmill hill workout
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6.5 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 10.2 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Sunday: 8 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Total: 45 mi

After a few weeks of lower mileage, I picked things up again this week. I only had two treadmill runs, too! That was pleasant. Somehow I didn’t even remember that – I thought it was yet another week of the treadmill grind.

Since it snowed a lot last weekend and then we had a few warmer days with below-freezing nights, I knew I was going to be limited in spots to run. Sidewalk shoveling is iffy (I’m guilty of this myself) and drainage is poor, and I figured many trails would either be skating rinks or unpacked, so I stuck with the safest options.

The Lakewalk itself is a lake in spots, which was slightly annoying. I had to detour onto the gritty snow on the sides a few times, which was fine but took a bit out of my legs. Tuesday, it turned out that there was a Grandma’s Marathon training group out as well, so I ended up “banditing” part of their training run (I went past their turnaround point, so they were all gone by the time I turned around #humblebrag). I filed that away in my memory for this week, since that was a significantly larger group of people than I prefer to encounter during training.

Wednesday was my grandmother’s 92nd birthday, so I visited her for an hour or so pre-workout. I considered making that my rest day, but since I was driving to and from the Twin Cities on Thursday for work, I just did a short workout after my visit. That kind of makes me sound like I sacrificed time with my grandparents for a workout, but we had a great visit and I am there at least twice a week, so I’m not a completely awful person.

Both Saturday and Sunday, I started my workouts significantly later than I needed to, for no reason. I find myself stalling and finding all kinds of distractions and excuses not to start my run, and then I get in my head about it. “You ate breakfast/lunch like you were going to run 10 miles, now you have to.” “But it’s cold.” “But I’m going to be done late.” “But I am enjoying watching this movie.” “Maybe I can just do 6 miles.” “Maybe I’ll just run on the treadmill even though I have the opportunity to run outside.” “What if the route is snowy/icy/impassable?” “I don’t wanna put on all that gear.” “I’m so slow, this will take forever.” “I have to pee for the 10th time.”

I really admire people who just get out there and run. I also admire me because I do get out there and run, eventually. It is hard, for no reasons other than ones I invent for myself, but I do still have to grapple with those reasons. I’d like to think that I’m not going to be quite so neurotic about running once the weather clears up, but I can’t say for sure. I guess eventually it’ll be warm and I’ll find out.

The Time Off That Wasn’t

*Hmmm, perhaps I should have added a title the first time around. Fixed*

I’d been really looking forward to taking time off running and then easing back into it, but it’s not working out the way I thought.

The main reason for this is I am incredibly stressed about the FE exam. I don’t feel prepared, and I’m running out of time. Rescheduling is not an option, both because I don’t want to pay their stupid fee to reschedule, and also because the format of the test changes starting in July. (It’s currently straight up multiple choice, but with the next testing window, they will have other options like fill in the blank or something, which in my opinion makes the test significantly harder. I guess I’ll find out if I don’t pass this time around!) It’s my own fault for 1. putting the test off so long that I’ve forgotten a lot of the stuff I learned in class and 2. putting off studying until — well, not the last minute, but it is starting to feel that way.

I’m studying for hours every night, and I feel guilty about running. That’s an hour I’m not studying. I tell myself there’s no guarantee that I will actually spend that extra hour studying, that I might end up farting around online or one of my other patented avoidance techniques. At least running is something productive, and gets out some of my nervous energy. Sort of.

My new treadmill was delivered on Tuesday. I opted for a slightly better model than I previously had (so, instead of the cheapest, I got the second cheapest). It’s quieter, the design is a bit more streamlined, and it has a small fan built in. It also has a decline option, so I can run at a 1% or 2% downhill grade in addition to up to a 10% incline. I wasn’t too sure about how that would feel, but I gave it a shot on Tuesday and it didn’t feel like I was going to fall through the front of the treadmill.

While the treadmill isn’t my favorite choice for a workout, it comes in handy because I don’t waste any excess time driving to a trail, or getting stuck at stoplights. It worked out well yesterday also because we had San Francisco levels of fog for most of the day.

In addition to the anxiety over my test, I’m missing that feeling of accomplishment that comes from running for 2 hours on a weekday after a full day of work. These short runs don’t provide that sense of smug self-satisfaction I get from these medium length weekday runs. I’m not running on trails, either, which I miss, and which I need to get out on, since I’ve got that trail marathon coming up.

I only have *gulp* 8 more days of this before I can get back to higher mileage weeks. I’m looking forward to longer runs (especially now that it is mostly nice out and the sunset is sooooo late), but I’m also terrified about this stupid test and wouldn’t mind an extra 8 days to study. I’m running the Midnight Sun Midnight Run 5K the night after my test, so it’ll either be a triumphant run or a dejected run, depending on my perception of this exam (I don’t get immediate results).

Training and Traveling

Last week was the fourth time I’ve traveled in 2016, and it was the first time I was able to successfully work out. I’ve been foiled by a broken treadmill with no backup plan (UP Michigan), mostly laziness (Florida), and illness (Calgary).

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Crossing the North Saskatchewan River

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While in Edmonton last week, I was actually very successful at fitting in workouts. Gold stars for me!

I benefited from a couple of things:
1. My company doesn’t require me to work on long travel days, so I can choose my own schedule.
2. I was able to check a bag which allowed me to bring a lot more stuff along and also gave me more freedom to move around the airport.
3. I traveled to a very walkable city, and had amazing weather the entire visit.

Here’s how I stayed active while in Edmonton:

Tuesday: Travel day
I didn’t leave Duluth until 3 PM, so I was able to sleep in and shake off the crummy, tired feeling I’d had for the past week. I had a long layover in Minneapolis, of my own design. I hate being cooped up in planes (I am also not fond of being cooped up in airports, but it’s better than a plane), so I like to have a little break between flights. I also don’t want to risk a delay; I was on the last flight to Edmonton for the night, so if I’d had a delay out of Duluth on a later flight, I’d have been hosed. This is largely irrelevant, but the point is I had a lot of time in the airport. So I walked around a lot. Shopped a little bit, got a bite to eat, and then just wandered. Sat and worked for awhile, wandered again. Customs at the Edmonton airport is also comically far from the gate where we landed; I guess they figured we fat Americans needed a little extra workout. I booked it down the corridors to try to beat a few of my fellow travelers to the customs line, only to discover it wasn’t that big of a line (unlike my trip to Calgary). I reached 10,000 steps without fitting in a workout, for the first time since getting my tracker.

Wednesday: Work day
I got a lot of steps in 1. finding my workplace 2. dealing with my credit card (long story) 3. getting lunch and 4. heading to dinner with my colleagues. I think again I was at 10,000 steps without working out. I stuffed my face at dinner, but I made it back to the hotel with plenty of time to let food settle before getting on the treadmill. I ran 5 miles in the relatively warm hotel gym, and then did some push-ups after I got back to my room. I was a little wound-up when I tried to go to sleep, but no big deal.

Thursday: Team building event
More walking: to work, to another building, to lunch, back to the hotel for a minute after lunch. We had a team building event in the afternoon at a local park, and were allowed to wear our comfortable clothes to the morning meeting. I probably stretched this a bit by wearing a buff (as a headband), a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers, but hey, I was ready for the afternoon. I ran over to the park after leaving the hotel, which was supposed to be about 2.5 km (when in Rome…), but ended up being a 5k, since I made some wrong turns. Hooray. I was late for the kickball game. After kickball, I played some 3 on 3 soccer, which about killed me, and then probably racked up a bunch of “steps” playing ping pong. I walked back to the hotel with some coworkers and ended up running up a bunch of steps to… I’m not sure what. Another woman and I decided to do it rather than take a very slow escalator in the Shaw Conference Center. Again, it nearly killed me. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill once back at the hotel, although it was an unpleasant run thanks to the 10-12 teenagers who decided to use the hotel gym as their personal hangout.

Friday: Travel day
Got up at 4:30 am, did a little bit of airport walking during my layover in Minneapolis, sat on the plane in the Duluth airport for an hour before disembarking, thanks to a thunderstorm, and decided to call it a rest day.

Overall, I think I did pretty well at working out while traveling. I could have gotten a workout on Tuesday if I’d chosen to get on an earlier flight, but the walking I did was plenty. It was a good time for a cutback week as it was. Next time I go to Edmonton, I need to do some more running along the river; it is gorgeous.

Superior 25K Training: Week 2

It’s never going to be warm again. Ever.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5 mi, treadmill, 136 bpm
Wednesday: 4.7 mi, trails/hills (Bagley), 143 bpm
Thursday: 5 mi, treadmill, 135 bpm
Friday: 6.5 mi, road, 139 bpm
Saturday: 7.1 mi, road (MAF test), 138 bpm
Sunday: 10 mi, treadmill, 151 bpm
Total: 38.9 mi


Ok we actually did have a couple nice days this past week, but now we don’t have another high above 50 degrees until May. It is really getting to me, mentally and even physically. It’s tough to get motivated to do anything. Last weekend, it was warm, and I had the energy to come home after a trail run and clean my house. This weekend, I slept poorly both nights, got buffeted about by the wind on Saturday, and had to do my long run on the treadmill rather than get hypothermia from running 10 miles in a frigid downpour.

I discussed in my last post that I won’t be doing MAF training for awhile. I still plan to monitor my heart rate, so I’ll still give that stat in my wrap-ups, but I won’t be sticking to any set maximum. I’ve already had a couple workouts where I’ve had sustained periods above my target heart rate.

Wednesday, I decided to do the first real hill workout I’ve had in quite awhile. I went to Bagley, which ended up being kind of stupid since it was 4/20 and there were several groups of people smoking dope in the area. I felt like a tool running by them, but no one made any comments, so I felt lucky. I did get a few whiffs of smoke as I went by. I warmed up with the easier loop, and then attacked the hill 3 times, heart rate be damned. I recovered with another pass of the easier loop, and then 3 more attacks on the hill. It wasn’t so bad, although by the end my legs were feeling a bit wobbly.

Unfortunately, the hill workouts took a toll on my calves, and they felt as taught as violin strings for a few days after. I didn’t have any other muscular issues, which was surprising. I thought I would have felt something in my thighs, but I didn’t.

My weekday treadmill runs were as uneventful as they always are. There’s really nothing to report on any of them, which is why I skip over them. I can’t stand that I’m writing about treadmill runs on the regular right now, but I am trying to stay healthy and sometimes that means staying out of the cold. I’m such a weakling right now. I’m not sure what I’m going to do now that the Wild are knocked out of the playoffs, as I watched a lot of hockey while on the treadmill. It’s a lot better distraction than movies or TV shows, although I get easily frustrated when the game isn’t going well, which doesn’t help with treadmill running.

I got in a little extra workout on Thursday as I made a little pilgrimage to Enger Tower, which was lit purple in memory of Prince. I climbed to the top, which was a nice stair workout, but it was too misty to get a good picture of the view.

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When you can't get to #FirstAvenue.

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Friday I had an uneventful road run. I got stopped at almost every stoplight I encountered, so that threw the pace off a bit. Saturday’s MAF test was cold but I did enjoy the roar of the surf to the north of me, just out of view.

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Saturday on Minnesota Point. #conservationofmomentum #duluth

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There’s a ship just barely visible on the right side of the photo. I think the waves were more dramatic on Sunday, but I didn’t venture out of my house beyond a coffee run. Sunday I slept late, since I’d had trouble falling asleep again, and I was wrapped up in the Wild game and the extra innings of the Twins game, so there wouldn’t really have been time to go down to the beach again. Plus, rain and gusting winds and cold and sloth.

So I ran my long run of the week on the treadmill. I probably ran at a bit of a higher heart rate than I should have, but I just wanted to give it a shot. I stopped twice: once to go to the bathroom, taking advantage of the proximity, and once when I had to start a new workout because I hit 100 minutes. I ate some of a granola bar at the second stoppage, and started up at a slower pace to let myself digest a bit. I’d forgotten to take the heart rate alarm off my indoor running mode, so my stupid watch beeped like mad the whole time.

I did try again to buy a new pair of shoes, but the store I went to (a sports version of a big box store) was completely out of Mizuno shoes, and that’s what I wanted. I ended up going online and finding a clearance pair of Mizunos which weren’t exactly what I wanted, but seemed suitable and were cheap enough that I was willing to buy them without trying them on. I really hope they don’t suck. I was trying to see if I could find another clearance pair of my Wave Prophecies, but they didn’t have any in my size at the places I looked online. The shoes should be here this week, and I should have time to break them in before my 5K. So much for instant gratification.


25% of the way there! Holy crap.

Monday: 5.3 mi, road, 136 bpm
Tuesday: 4.5 mi, treadmill, UMTR hill challenge, 136 bpm
Wednesday: 6 mi, treadmill, 137 bpm
Thursday: 3 mi, treadmill, 134 bpm
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9.4 mi, road, MAF test, 135 bpm
Sunday: 3.4 mi, paved trail (lower Lakewalk), 134 bpm
Total: 31.5 mi

Another great week. I literally cannot remember anything about Monday’s run, so it must have been boring.

Tuesday I ran the UMTR hill challenge, which I’m not officially registered for, but I’ve already run twice now (first time in week 1). There are two separate treadmill challenges: the first is 15 minutes at 15% incline, which official participants are doing 3 times, so I will also. The second is a “Leadville Hill” challenge, which is 3 miles at 15% incline. That’ll be the final one, I guess. The first time, I did 0.71 miles in 15 minutes, and this past week, I did 0.65 miles in 15 minutes, both while doing my best to stay under my goal heart rate of 142 bpm. I was disappointed to cover a shorter “distance” in my second challenge, but it’s not that big of a deal.

Wednesday and Thursday were general treadmill runs of no consequence. Friday I enjoyed my rest day and went to a men’s hockey game. Saturday was the MAF test as previously discussed.

Sunday was not good. I was planning on doing 4.6 miles, but I felt off the whole time I was running. My heart rate was kinda funky, and I felt strange. I thought I was dizzy or light-headed, but then wasn’t having and vision or equilibrium problems. I also thought maybe I was nauseated, but I wasn’t. I maybe had a little bit of heartburn, I guess, but my stomach wasn’t upset. I felt so strange that I ended up abruptly turning around at 1.71 miles (I was looking down at my watch so I know this for certain) and walking most of the way back. It was cold and windy, and I felt a bit under-dressed even though I was wearing the same stuff I normally wear.

This upcoming week is going to be COLD, so I guess I’ll be hitting the treadmill for most of my workouts. That is so depressing.

Ease On Down The Treadmill

Well, two days of running in a row, hooray for me!

I ordered a headlamp and reflective vest today. I was going to pick both up at the store this evening after my (one and only) final, but they didn’t seem to have any good headlamps (only cheapo ones) and they only had one running vest left that wasn’t the right size. So I found a couple deals online and I have free 2-day shipping from Prime, so now I can run outside in just a few days!

The treadmill is unpleasant, and my body already hurts from it, specifically my hips. I’m not doing any speed work and not pushing at all, to try to minimize the stress on my body.

Monday I was absolutely dying of boredom, running at a 3.8 mph pace for 4 miles. And I was so hungry I whined aloud about it at several points. My cats were terrified. Yesterday was a lot better because the Wild were winning.

I found myself wanting to push the pace up a little (especially since I had mileage goals, rather than time goals, for the workouts) or lengthen the workout, and I held myself back both times. I took two weeks off, I can’t go from zero to 30 mpw the first week back. So, I can pat myself on the back for not overdoing it.

I can’t pat myself on the back for the poor time management that forced me to miss one of my last weekday afternoon workouts. I could have gone trail running, but instead I had to study. I had plenty of time to get started studying for the exam, but started Monday night, then didn’t get up til 10:30 or so on Tuesday, and then realized I had a lot more studying to do than I thought. So there was no chance for the 6 mile trail run I thought I’d do from about 12-2 (test was at 4). Alas. I won’t get another chance at a trail until Saturday.

My HOPE is that the precipitation we are supposed to get over the next few days is solely snow, and not rain. I’d rather have snow on the ground than ice/cold mud on the trails. We’ve gotten far too much rain, and it makes me nervous, especially since I drive over the high bridge for work, and don’t feel like driving over it when it’s slick with ice.

Ah, winter. Welcome back.

Building Character

That’s what I told myself while I was suffering through another boring treadmill run yesterday. It’s just making you mentally stronger, I reminded myself each time I wanted to quit. Man, I really hate the treadmill. Of course that kind of defeatist attitude didn’t help. Nor did the poor play of the Minnesota Wild.

Four days in a row on the treadmill is really taking its toll. It’s way harder on my body than trail or road running. I also think I have terrible posture on the treadmill, but I’m in my basement, not in a gym, so there isn’t a mirror to check. My lower back is stiff and my hips are kind of sore.

I wasn’t planning on four treadmill days in a row, of course. It rained Monday through Wednesday, but yesterday it was snowing so I figured I could get outside. When I was walking to my car at 5 (which is now well after sunset around here), it was slippery enough that I changed my mind. I don’t have a headlamp yet, and the streets around here are really dark, so I didn’t feel safe.

I’m taking today off from running as a result of these aches and pains, although I will probably do some strength training and a little yoga (which I’ve completely given up on since I don’t have abundant free time like I did this summer), so it won’t be a true rest day.

After today, I’ve got to get back outside. I have six days until my Gobble Gallop 5K, and I can’t be going into it with back and hip soreness. I plan on hitting some trails in the city limits this weekend (to stay safe from the deer hunters) and then I’m not sure, maybe the Lakewalk on Monday and Tuesday. I still have high hopes for a PR in this race, despite no actual proof that a PR is possible. Still, why not be wildly optimistic?